Great Barrier Reef under threat from water runoff

A new study has revealed that land management practices need to be improved in order to prevent unnecessary sediment runoff which is affecting the Great Barrier Reef (GRB), media reported Wednesday.

IANS| Last Updated: May 28, 2014, 13:50 PM IST

Canberra: A new study has revealed that land management practices need to be improved in order to prevent unnecessary sediment runoff which is affecting the Great Barrier Reef (GRB), media reported Wednesday.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) used a variety of new and improved techniques to analyse 10 years of satellite data of the water clarity in the reef off the Burdekin coast in Queensland, Australia, Xinhua reported.
"The study shows that large river flood events have a large impact on water quality, reaching very far off the coast and lasting several months," said AIMS research program leader Dr. Schaffelke.

The photosynthetic algae which live on the corals and provide colours to the reef also rely on the sun to survive.

Sea weed, important food for mammals and fish, also depends on the sun and a high level of sediment in the water can kill them by blocking the sun`s rays.

Sedimentation can also block other marine organism`s ability to breathe. Marine plants and animals are highly sensitive to changes in water quality.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world`s largest coral reef and is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 km over an area of approximately 344,400 sq.km.

The reef was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.